After years of planning, the Q House, a community center in the Dixwell neighborhood, is set to open by the end of 2018.
The current building on the lot is being prepared for demolition, a process that includes asbestos control, and construction will begin spring 2017. Since 2013, the city has been working with local firms Zared Enterprises and Kenneth Boroson Architects to design the space, which will be 30,000 square feet of community space and 24,000 square feet of a library, senior center and health care clinic. The community portion will include a dance studio, theaters, music practice room, meetings room and a gym.
The size of the new Q House will also be more than two times greater than the old one, which closed in 2003 due to a lack of funding.
Construction of the new facility will bring not only recreational spaces, but also construction jobs to the city, said Dixwell Alder Jeanette Morrison. But the total number of jobs is uncertain, she said.
“The expectation is that we will get a general contractor that will subcontract with small businesses in New Haven,” said Morrison.
The Stetson Branch Library, Dixwell/Newhallville Senior Center and the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center will move into the 24,000 square foot area. The rent from these tenants will help support the rest of the facilities, helping the Q House avoid the funding problems that led to its previous closing.
Since 2003, activist groups in New Haven, particularly Concerned Citizens for Greater New Haven Dixwell Community House, have been working towards reopening the center. When Morrison was elected alder in 2011, she worked to unite the movement and make its cause a reality. In 2014, the state gave New Haven $1 million for designing and planning a new building. Then last February, the city was given a $14.5 million grant for construction.
Addys Castillo, a New Haven resident who directs the advocacy group Citywide Youth Coalition, has fond memories of the Q House from her own youth. Now she looks forward to using it as a resource for her child, she said.
“We’ve been talking about this for years,” Castillo said. “We are eager to see it come to fruition.”
She said neighborhood groups had been discussing a new center for years after its closing, with discussion escalating during the 2011 mayoral elections. She added that she is excited to see the transition from planning to execution.
Dixwell is in Ward 22.